“Good morning, everybody, and welcome to an event that harkens back to the carefree days of the Great Depression: the soap box derby.” – TV Announcer
Every once and a while I am moved to briefly praise the people up at WordPress HQ. They do a regularly excellent job of making sure that everything works, the new features that they add tend far more toward “useful” than “bloat”, and their customer support, even for people who aren’t paying jack, is responsive, friendly and informative. Sometimes, though, things go awry.
In this case it’s a very harmless awry, and it’s far more my fault than theirs, but I laughed when I saw it. Unexpectedly, I got an e-mail from them yesterday, subject “Your Annual Report from WordPress.com”. A quick search of my inbox reveals that in four years of blogging with them, this is the first time I’ve gotten an “Annual Report”. Turns out it’s a new thing this year, a cutesy little flash graphic with your site’s stats that’s a way to encourage people to blog more. This is part of the one for Dead Homer Society:
In case you can’t see the image, it’s titled “Crunchy numbers” and reads:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 970,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take bout 18 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
So this is some script that takes a look at your pageview stats, matches that with a predetermined list of numbers and figures, and then writes this paragraph into the e-mail. If we’d had 50,000 pageviews this year, it’d probably say something like “About 12,000 tourists vomit on the Nauseator every year. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2012. If it were the Nauseator, it would take about 4 years for that many people to vomit. Your blog caused more people to vomit than a ride at Disney Land!”. They’re being a little disingenuous because that 970,000 number is pageviews, not unique visitors, so comparing it to tourists in Europe is like counting the number of visitors a country has by the number of people who request a brochure on their website.
But those little idiosyncrasies aside, it’s the image at the right that cracked me up. Unlike the cheery site stats and graphics that are supposed to make you the blogger feel good about all the time you spend complaining on the internet, it’s a chart that’s plummeting like a stone and has a distinctly depressing appearance to it. They grabbed that particular image because the Zombie Simpsons page was by far our most popular this year (just north of 27,000 views), and if you include the child pages (which it obviously does), that graph is the first image. It’s the average Amazon stars for the DVDs from Chapter 1, and the reason it’s dropping like a rock is because it’s about Zombie Simpsons. Heh.
See you all in 2013.